In their Genes

In their Genes

Hemant Sagar on Lecoanet Hemant’s pret line and designing clothes for New India.

hemant sagar, Lecoanet, Genes, Here and Now, Amazon india, fashion, pret line, fashion designer
Hemant Sagar & Didier Lecoanet

FROM Paris’s Faubourg Saint-Honore to Infocity, Gurgaon — in the 35 years of its existence Hemant Sagar and Didier Lecoanet’s Indo-French couture label Lecoanet Hemant has journeyed two continents and straddled two cultures. From creating exclusive haute couture pieces for French aristocrats at their Paris atelier, to catering to the dynamic Indian urbanite, their market too has changed vastly in the 15 years since the two moved to Delhi. In a bid to reach out to “the scions of New India”, as they call potential clientele, the duo recently launched their pret label GENES. At a preview at their Gurgaon factory last week, they presented “Here and Now” the label’s Fall-Winter 2015 line-up. “It is called so because it was made ‘here’ and it is for ‘now’,” says Sagar, emphasising the collection’s contemporary and modern vibe. Priced between Rs 2,500 to Rs 25,000, the range of menswear, womenswear and accessories available on Amazon is specifically aimed at the burgeoning online market. Edited excerpts from a chat with Sagar:

How did GENES come about?
Every designer who has done high fashion, eventually wants to get into democratic clothes distribution. It’s frustrating to make just one couture garment at a time for high-paying customers. For 20 years we’ve dreamed of doing something that reached out to more people, yet showcased the genetics of the brand. We opened a store on M.G. Road (Delhi) and planned to expand to 40-60 stores across India. But while we were making those plans, the Indian consumer changed. The woman, who used to go shopping for luxe sportswear, now want to do it online. Three years of research has made it clear that we need to work on competitive prices, establish a wide distribution network and explore the online space. Today, we have a state-of-the-art factory in Gurgaon and have the production facilities in place.

What is the USP of the label?
The consumer today is a unique mix of global influences and traditional sensibilities. She wears a salwar kameez in front of her grandparents, but still loves her blue jeans. So, we decided to capitalise on that and create a bridge collection. Kurtas are cut like long shirts and churidars have been replaced by slim pants. It’s all about Indian traditions and proportions, but disguised in a new global way, without compromising on the execution.

How will you differentiate between the mainline and the pret label?
The trends and forecasts we follow will be identical. One is a couture label and one is more approachable, but they’re still different spectrums of luxury wear. The idea is to continue the story, but the treatments are different, thereby changing the price points. Like the Luna print embroidery or Meteor leather pieces from our Fall line are re-interpreted through digital photo-based prints, or intricate hand embroidery is replaced by machine work.

Any plans for the couture line?
We plan to reinvent Lecoanet Hemant in the next 12 to 18 months, and present Indian couture apparel with a French sensibility. We hope to expand the brand with a cosmetics and jewellery line.